The start of this season saw Barcelona reinforced with some new summer signings. Clement Lenglet's arrival from Sevilla proved increasingly important with the 23-year old partnering up with veteran Gerard Pique at center-back after Samuel Umtiti was sidelined with knee trouble.
Meanwhile, Arthur helped to complete Barca's midfield trio alongside Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets. Include the purchase of regular substitutes Arturo Vidal and Malcolm, along with a number of squad rotation players in the January transfer window, and we can see that Barca have been incredibly busy in the transfer market in recent months. The important question at hand, however, is did these transfers provide the value on the field that was promised?
Starting with Lenglet, it was always necessary for Barca to bolster their defence. He proved to be an impactful center-back during his sole season at Sevilla, and while the side had a poor showing in La Liga, Lenglet helped the team to the Champions League quarter-finals, playing every second of their campaign, as well as taking them to the Copa del Rey final.
Overall, his first season at the Blaugranes has had ups and down, with lows consisting of a number of rookie errors made on his part, which contrasts with his 11 clean sheets kept in 22 La Liga appearances with a match still to play. Overall, it is evident that Lenglet has the potential to take Barca forward so long as his talent is cultivated with the required managerial approach. Furthermore, it is still unknown as to whether Umtiti will churn out the same exceptional performances as he did in the past after enduring a long time out injured. As of this moment, Lenglet is a vital part of the Barca squad.
Shifting focus to Barca's midfield, Arthur's purchase from Gremio was a gamble to say the least. Back in his native Brazil, the 22-year-old was a product of Gremio's youth squad, resulting in a lack of prior exposure to European football. It was known that he was talented, but there was no way of telling how he would cope in a top league such as La Liga or against some of the world's best in the Champions League. Overall, consensus on the center mid is mixed, with some critics saying that he does not stand out as an impactful player, while others feel that he is a stellar team player. Personal opinions aside, and what Barca have is a young player with plenty of potential, who displays an in-game understanding of tiki taka as well as Barca's footballing culture at large. Also important to note is that due to Barca being only his second team, there are very few bad habits that the coaching staff would have to undo should the need arise.
Moving onto the attacking midfield, and the signing of Arturo Vidal certainly made headlines across the board. Talented and experienced yet short-tempered and sometimes erratic, no one quite knew what was in store when Barca purchased the 31-year-old Chilean midfielder. While age may not be on his side, Vidal still did well to improve his standing throughout the season. Starting the season from the bench, he built his way up and soon managed to break his way into the starting eleven on a regular basis. He has now made 32 La Liga appearances, and managed six assists and three goals along the way. While Barca will be on the lookout for further young talent, Vidal remains a stellar all rounder, both in a defensive midfield and shadow striker role, and certainly adds depth to the side.
To boost the wings, 22-year-old winger Malcom was brought in after an impressive two seasons at Bordeaux. Unfortunately for him, he did not feature much in the league campaign this season with only 14 appearances and three for the full 90 minutes. He did have a decent showing in the Copa del Rey, however, with two goals in five appearances, as well as a goal against Inter in his Champions League cameo. While his opportunities to shine this season have been rare, he still has much to prove in the coming season before he can truly move up the pecking order.
While not a transfer, Carles Alena is also worth a mention. Promoted to first team football from Barcelona B, he has Barcelona football in his blood and has already proven to be a decent fit for the squad. Apart from two goals in 16 league appearances, he has proven himself to be an excellent passer with stellar ball control and good anticipation, which is a necessary trait for any potential Barca star. Should Alena continue to show such promise, he may just be the next born and bred Barca star to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Busquets and Pique.
In summary, Barca chose well when picking out their transfers at the beginning of this season. While there may still seem to be a lack of depth in the Barca squad, further acquisitions such as Frenkie de Jong and the like should fill the holes and give Barca the strength they need to move forward next season.